Today I want to share with you some common unexpected expenses, and why you need an emergency fund in order to deal with these. This is because more than likely we will not budget for these expenses, which leaves us left wondering where we will find the money to pay for them! No matter how financially prepared you think you are, life will always throw something unexpected your way!
- Medical, dental, and vision expenses
- Sick Pet
- Laptop breaks
- Car breaks down
- Need to purchase a new car
- Plumbing problem
- Electrical problem
- Clothes for a new job that requires you to dress up every day
- Get sick and you don’t get paid sick leave at work
- Mobile phone breaks
- Expenses for your kids extracurricular activities
- Washer/Dryer/Fridge/Dishwasher/Oven breaks down
- Destination Wedding for friend/relative
- Family emergency
- Gifts for baby shower, wedding shower, housewarming, etc.
- Flat tyre
- Fines e.g library fines, speeding ticket
- Electronics Replacement, eg. computers, phones, cameras
- Hospitality, eg. guests visiting, throwing a party, food
- Household supplies, eg. cleaning supplies
- Gardening expenses, eg. soil, seeds, fencing
- Furniture replacement
- You lose your job and you can’t find another one with the same rate of pay
- You (or your partner) unexpectedly get pregnant
- You find yourself with a debilitating illness
- Your hours are cut at work
- A friend or relative in crisis moves in with you for a while
- You’re evicted from your home
- An unexpected bill
- Your account becomes overdrawn
There are a number of ways you can prepare for unexpected expenses. One is to save more money. Set aside a small amount in your monthly budget for your emergency fund, and you’ll have no added stress when any of them pop up.
To create an emergency fund, open up a savings account make a commitment to put money in every month. You could even set up a standing order so your bank does it automatically.
An emergency fund is cash you have saved that you can dip into in an emergency. An emergency fund should be enough to pay all your most important bills for several months. Three months worth of your income is a good minimum to aim for, although the exact amount you need depends on your circumstances.
To access your free Credit Report from GiffGaff Money, as well as savings plan ideas, click here
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, it may be time to start one…you might thank yourself in the future!!
As it is Mental Health Awareness week, I thought it would be useful to some people to talk about the effect debt can have on your mental health. Mental health problems can cause debt, and debt can cause mental health problems.
Debt triggered by mental health problems can occur from a lack of energy or motivation to keep track of money, and rash decisions can result in spending money on things people can’t actually afford. Taking time off work can also cause a sudden reduction in someone’s income.
If you feel you are struggling to keep up, speaking to a GP or seeking financial advice are great ways to find long-term solutions.
Places to seek advice include:
You could also look back at your spending, as well as creating a budget that helps you gain control. Check out my budgeting tips here.
Remember you are never alone and there is always help available to you.
10 years may seem like a really long time, although it can pass very quickly. It’s hard to even imagine what your life will be like then.
However, having a 10-year plan can help you to make all the decisions you need to make today to get you to where you want to be in 10 years time and help you to clarify your most important priorities.
Your life is defined by the choices you make today.
Your 10-year plan doesn’t need to be as long as your arm, it just needs to be what you want your life to look like in the future and what you want to achieve.
Here are some definitions to help you:
Vision – the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom
Purpose – a person’s sense of determination
Goals – the object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or desired result
Determine your priorities:
Firstly, work out what you want to have achieved 10 years from now – you can break this down into yearly goals or even 5-year goals.
What do you want to accomplish in life?
What kind of person do you want to be?
What is most important to you in life?
How would you like to be remembered?
You can assess what you want to achieve in the following areas:
- Self Development
Think about financial goals – how can you use the next 10 years of your life to move towards financial security?
- Starting a pension
- Saving more money
- Asking for a promotion
Think about fun goals – where would you like to travel or what activities would you like to accomplish?
- Travel the world
Think about family goals – would you like to have a family or if you’ve already started your family what are your goals for them?
- Having a child
- Saving money for your child’s education
- Moving to a larger home
Use SMART goals
SMART is an acronym that you can use to create your goals. This means:
A goal is your ultimate destination. Objectives are the paths you need to take to arrive at that goal. Goal setting promotes a long-term vision and a short-term motivation.
You can also create a vision board to stay on track with your 10-year plan. You can use a frame or noticeboard and stick on pictures that identify your objectives. Place this board where you can see it every day so that you are reminded of your main goal and what you need to do to get there.
Hopefully, this post sends you on your way to building and creating your own 10-year plan! As always, let me know if this post has helped you by tweeting me at @BritOnABudget1 and telling me your goals!
Are you looking to take your Pinterest game to the next level and increase your website views? If the answer is yes, then this post is for you.
2 weeks ago, I did as much research as I could in order to increase my Pinterest Monthly Viewers and my Pin Engagements. This was an attempt to increase Pinterest traffic to my blog.
And after changing my Pinterest strategies, it worked!
Pinterest has over 200 million monthly users and is growing rapidly. Every day people are using Pinterest to search for things from Travel and Entertainment to Celebs and Quotes. This makes it the perfect platform to promote your blog on.
What are Pinterest monthly viewers?
This is the average number who people who see your pins on the platform per month. The average monthly engaged viewers mean the average number of people who act on your pins (either through clicking or repinning).
I became serious about Pinterest as soon as I set up my blog, as I didn’t want to waste any time diverting my audience to my website. To begin this, I immediately converted my Pinterest account to a business account so I was able to keep track of my monthly viewers and see my analytics. This allows you to see your top pin impressions (your pins which have the most impressions, saves and clicks) and also the demographics of your audience such as their gender and the language they speak.
(This is my analytics from 28th March 2018 (0 viewers, 0 engaged) to 18th April 2018 (118,270 viewers, 5,193 engaged) – my average monthly viewers increased by 18,350.86% in 3 weeks)
When creating a Pinterest account to promote your blog or website, you should first think about a few relevant topics that relate to your blog and that your target audience will be interested in, and create boards that line up with these interests. Because I blog about money, I created boards that include Saving and Making money, Debt, Frugal Lifestyle and Budgeting.
SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a big part of increasing your Pinterest audience as it helps you to obtain a higher ranking on search engines such as Google. To achieve this, it is important to put keywords in your pin and board descriptions. To find the relevant keywords you can use, use the Pinterest search bar and type in keywords that you might use for a blog post title. I also use Google Keyword Planner. Additionally, I optimized my profile for SEO by changing my name from ‘Brit On A Budget’ to ‘Lauren | Brit On A Budget | Personal Finance & Blogging Tips’. As well as enabling me to appear higher on searches, this immediately lets my audience know what my blog and Pinterest boards are about.
It is important that you regularly pin and spend time on Pinterest as this will help you to increase your audience. I like to use both Tailwind and manually pin pins. Tailwind allows you to join tribes and set a pinning schedule, which does most of the work for you. I also like to manually pin things from bloggers in my niche. I initially began using the free trial version of Tailwind, however, I upgraded this to the annual subscription later on.
To increase Pinterest traffic to my website, I also enabled rich pins. Pinterest describes them as ‘adding extra details to Pins from your website’. There are currently 4 different types of Rich Pins:
Product Pins – they include real-time pricing, availability, and info on where to buy your product.
Recipe Pins – adds info to your pin like ingredient list, cooking times and serving sizes.
Article Pins – each pin shows a headline, author and story description.
App Pins – these pins show an install button so that people can download your app without leaving Pinterest (these pins are only compatible with IOS).
A rich pin also displays your website and web icon on the pin which makes it easier for users to be directed to your website.
As well as creating relevant boards, I cleaned up my boards by deleting/turning to secret boards any boards that don’t fit in with my niche or relate to my blog. I also created board covers for each of my boards with a cohesive theme running throughout them. This enables your audience to know what the board is about just by looking at the board cover.
You can also create sections for each of your boards as this helps viewers to find what they are looking for straight away, and this also encourages repinning. It is important to make sure that each board has at least 50 pins in it.
Furthermore, I created a board with only pins that link directly to my blog posts in so that my audience can access these quickly.
A great technique that I also used is to create different designs of a pin for one blog post. This helps because you can see what works best for you and it also allows you to get traffic from 1 blog post from 2 or more different pins. Essentially, you can keep promoting the same blog article multiple times but your pin still looks new.
Hopefully, this post gives you an idea on how to increase your pinterest following, and be sure to let me know your pinterest tips. Happy pinning!
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Sunday is by far my favourite day of the week. Other than the thought that Monday is just lingering around the corner, it is the only day it is acceptable to do absolutely nothing! Here are just a few things that I have incorporated into my Sunday routine to leave me feeling refreshed and prepared for the week ahead.
Write a To-Do List For The Week / Plan The Week Ahead
Firstly, I like to braindump everything I need to do for the week in a notebook. This is so I can see everything I have to do in front of me and I can cross things out as I go. After I have made my to-do list, I like to use the ‘Urgent/Important’ Matrix (explained in my ‘Step By Step Guide To Boost Your Productivity‘ Blog Post. This helps me to prioritise my tasks and make it easier for me to add them to Google Calendar.
Charge My Electronic Devices
I put my phone and laptop on charge on Sunday because it makes me feel more organised and they are powered up ready to go on Monday morning.
Create a Meal Plan For The Week
I like to plan out the lunches I’m going to take to work that week as it saves me a lot of time and I also know what to buy at my weekly shop in order to make these lunches. I use the Sistema Bento Lunch Box to Go with Fruit/Yogurt Pot as it fits a lot in and helps me to keep different foods seperate as I am very fussy!
My Sunday pamper routine consists of having a long bubble bath while listening to my favourite playlist, and I like to do a face mask and pamper my skin. My facvourite face mask is the L’Oreal Paris 3 Pure Clays and Charcoal Detox Mask, 50 ml as it detoxes my skin and draws out all impurities. I also like to paint my nails as this helps me to feel relax and ready for the week ahead.
Read A Book
I always love to wind down and read a book on a Sunday as this relaxes me the most. At the moment, I am reading The Secret and I must admit I am hooked on every word!
Pack My Bag For Work
I pack my bag for the week on a Sunday as I can make sure I have everything ready for the week. I also like to set my work uniform out for the week so I am not worrying about this in the morning.
Clean My Room
I make sure to clean my room on a Sunday evening because this makes everything I need easier to find. I hang up my clothes and hoover the room as a tidy room = a tidy mind!
Watch a Film
Sundays are made for chilling out, so I always love to put my fave film on and relax.
Hopefully, this post will give you some ideas on how to create your Sunday routine! Let me know what you incorporate into your Sunday routine in the comments below!
Taking the time to create a budget can help you save £1,000s a year and keep on top of bills. By working out a budget, it can mean you are less likely to end up in debt or caught out by unexpected costs or money emergencies. This post will show you how to create your own personal budget, and how to keep up with it.
- Work out your outgoings (household bills, living costs, travel costs, leisure etc). The best way to do this is to look at your bank statements and work out an average amount for each category (don’t estimate it as this won’t work!)
- Work out your income. This includes extra income you make from surveys, a second job or hobbies.
- Cut back your budget. If you are spending more than you have coming in, you can solve this by cutting unnecessary spending such as buying lunch out or cancelling the gym membership you never use. You can also save hundreds of pounds on your bills by switching providers to a cheaper alternative.
- Keep on top of your bank balance. Alongside sticking to your budget, it is useful to check your bank every day so you are aware of any unexpected money going in or coming out your bank.
- Set a savings goal. This will keep you motivated to keep up with your budget and will also help you to build an emergency fund which will help you pay for unexpected emergencies.
I hope this post has helped to set you on your way to creating a budget!
Thanks for reading, tweet me @BritOnABudget1 any of your best budgeting tips!
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Spring is not only the perfect time to spring clean your home, it’s also the best time to clear out your mind and begin new routines. Here are some ideas and tips that you can use in 2018 to refresh your life.
Spring Clean Your Technology
- Clean out your email inbox and unsubscribe to spam emails
- Sort through your phone apps and delete the ones you don’t use
- Delete photos and notes on your phone that you don’t need to create some free memory space
- Delete unnecessary files and documents on your computer
Create a Skincare Routine
- Determine your skin type and use products (cleanser, exfoliator, moisturiser etc) that are suitable for your skin
- Keep up with it every day and you will see a difference in your skin
Deep Clean Your Makeup Brushes and Clear Out Old Make-up
- Dirty make-up brushes are a haven for bacteria and can irritate your skin so you should clean them regularly to prevent acne and skin problems
- I use the Silicone Makeup Accessories Brush Cleaner Mat Cosmetic Cleaning Pad to clean my brushes because it removes all the old make up and dirt from them.
- Mascara – replace it every 3 months
- Foundation – replace it once a year
- Eyeliner – replace it once a year
Take a Digital Detox
- Put your phone down, go for a walk outside and take in the fresh air
- Take some time away from social media and you will feel much better
Let Go Of People That Weigh You Down
- Evaluate your friendships and relationships, if someone gets you down – cut all contact!
Set Yourself a Budget
- Budgeting allows you to create a spending plan for your money and it ensures you have money for the things you need. There is never a better time to begin budgeting than now
Create a Fitness Routine
- Starting a fitness routine can be one of the best things you can do for yourself
- You can start running, join a gym or even take up yoga
(this is one I will be working on myself!)
I’m sure at some point we have all had what seems like a million things that we needed to do but thought, ‘10 more minutes in bed won’t hurt’. If you are nodding your head, then keep reading this step by step guide on how to improve your productivity.
- Make a to-do list for the week – this ensures that you don’t forget about anything, and you can keep adding to this throughout the week. It also helps to plan out your meals for the week, as this saves both time and money.
2. Use the ‘Urgent/Important’ Matrix – important activities have an outcome that leads us to achieving our goals, urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often the ones we concentrate on. By sorting your to-do list into these sections it will help you to prioritise your tasks.
3. Set deadlines for your tasks – Deadlines are designed to help you move closer to your goals every day, therefore this will allow you to focus on your milestones.
4. Create a productivity playlist – It has been proven that listening to your favourite type of music makes you happier and more productive during stressful situations, so put on that Abba album!
5. Turn off your phone notifications to eliminate distractions – 73% of people believe their use of electronic devices has contributed to stress in their life.
6. Have a tidy and organised work space – not only does a clean desk communicate professionalism, it reduces stress and allows you to remember important tasks. ‘Tidy desk, tidy mind”.
7. Reward yourself after finishing tasks or at the end of the day – whether it’s giving in to your sweet tooth or treating yourself to a glass of wine, it is important to reward yourself and allow yourself to rest.
“You may delay, but time will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Lets face it, we’re all still going to have those days where we still don’t feel like our head is 100% in the game, but hopefully this guide has helped you to get one step closer to where you want to be!